Sunday, September 9, 2018

Will the AFP again break tradition?

In its history, the Armed Forces of the Philippines counts the last years of the nineteen eighties as the period of great distress. A new political power emerged after ousting the 14-year old rule of the Marcoses. The Marcos regime fell due to succession problems. The strongman got himself a Lupus and was unable to clearly chart the path to be taken by his regime. His sickness though never clouded his resolve to further his power yet clearly his equally ambitious young allies were just waiting in the wings, waiting for the ripe time to act.

And the time did came when millions stormed the gates of Camps Crame and Aguinaldo and demanded the ouster of the strongman. This did not happen due to the political machinations of the liberal opposition. This came as an off-shoot of an internal power struggle within Marcos' circle. When news came that the old man was thinking of prolonging the term of an usurper in the person of the old man's cousin, and the entire reins of government was to be handed over to his wife, these actions were interpreted as a betrayal of those who supported him from the very beginning. Hence, a political break did happen which resulted to the phenomenon called EDSA Revolution.

The very same political malaise exists in these days, as the political hegemon tries to salvage his fast losing reputation due to unmet promises. The old man knows his politics--and is always ready to shuffle his cards and play them. Unlike his predecessors, this man is known for his maverick strategies. He knows his law and has the fortitude of wills honed by decades of political involvement.

However, like his idol, this old man is being weakened by pains. He can't think straight and most of his functions were delegated early on to others whose interests are diametrically opposed to his. As he publicly announce his weaknesses, malevolent forces are now consolidating their forces for an eventual take-over regardless of whether it follows the Constitution or not. Some of those salivating for this comes in two sizes: the first ones tend to idealize the situation and thinks they have the skills to actualize their dreams and the second, those who clearly wanted nothing more than raid the public coffers.

In all of these, the men in uniform observe with caution. The establishment is also being weakened by internal wrangling, made worse by graft and corruption being tolerated by those occupying top posts. Yes, this was always the case yet let me remind those who forget their history that, at one period in the AFP's history, the establishment got itself rehabilitated and rid itself of misfits albeit, in exchange of a very turbulent period of political sacrifice.

The very stability of our country rests on the shoulders of our armed forces. However, its fate is inextricably linked with those of the political leadership. A weak political leadership impacts greatly on the capabilities of the Armed Forces to fight and conduct its wars.

Military intervention is an option being considered by many within the AFP. The experiences of other states however, prevents them from moving against the very state leadership. It was I think Sam Huntington who wrote that military regimes do not last long because those from the military to occupy political positions are incompetent and are unable to manage. The AFP organization differs from the bureaucracy and force is not always an option to be taken when managing such a graft ridden bureaucracy. The values of soldiery clash with civilian values and it would be foolhardy to assume that a military takeover of civilian functions would solve rising inflation and economic problems.

However, the window of opportunity is fast closing and the exigency of the times call for fast decision making. What then are those before us?

1. The people will not allow the political comeback of the Liberals--that is as certain as day. The Liberals have failed the people. It would take a long time before these Liberals regain their previous moral reputation.

2. The political environment does not anymore reflect a fight between two contending forces. It is not as simple as what defined the pre-EDSA 1986 conditions. There are no strong political personalities contending for power. Handlers of Vice President Leni Robredo tries to put her in the game but their efforts are not bearing any fruits. There will be chaos if Robredo ascends the presidency before Mr. Duterte's term ends.

3. Those who prescribe a different form of government are now moving thru public funds. They occupy posts in government which they use in propelling their cause to its logical conclusion. The problem is their very presence threatens the livelihood of those close to the Powers, and these ambitious people are just waiting for the last political gasp before they also move for their own selfish interests.

Another problem is really not about the possibility of ouster but the possibility of maintaining order and creating public support post-Duterte. Since there are no big political personalities capable of creating favorable public support behind an alternative government sans Duterte, the possibility of a prolonged armed engagement exists.

What people are debating about is the creation of a bloodless transition of power, which to my mind, is also fraught with danger because of the existence of political forces within the Duterte circle who oppose such an early transition. An early transition being proposed by Mr. Duterte itself frustrates the plans of his close political associates now ensconced in their own sinecures whose interests solely rest in massing more political capital (meaning more monies).

What is the best solution?

The best solution is really consolidation of all Patriotic forces those who belong to the civilian sector whose interests lie on just correcting this fast deteriorating situation.

The issue is simply mismanagement of the government. Mr. Duterte, for all his bravado and his wit, is simply unable to dispense his functions properly due to the enormity of the problem. Mr. Duterte faces extremely powerful forces whose interests are mostly corporeal and personal. These exploiters are profiting from the situation and are acting with wanton disregard of the law.

Mr. Duterte must open his eyes and address this situation squarely. While his PNP takes care of these drug syndicates, Mr. Duterte should mobilize his forces and neutralize these carpet baggers and cartel people and smite them to smithereens. Of course, Mr. Duterte realizes that the minute he does that, he incurs enemies who are equally as bad ass as he thinks he is. Nevermind that, since Mr. Duterte is nearing his Creator anyway and what is a sacrifice more noble than that of country?

If Mr. Duterte is really the person he so professes in public, he should abandon his prosecutorial style and act presidential by issuing arrest orders to these exploiters and put them behind bars. Mr. Duterte should direct his guns against economic saboteurs, smugglers and cartel guys, shame them, publicly expose them and put them in chains.

Mr. Duterte should also clean house and fire these nincompoops at the DA, DTI and agencies related to our food security. These people should be replaced by experts and technocrats who know how to solve the problem.

Mr. Duterte thinks he is a bully? Then bully these oligarchs, these shameless exploiters, these cartel guys and all these grafters who profit from the misery of millions!

Otherwise, Mr. Duterte being the Dirty Harry whom we all ascribe him to be, is really just a braggart without balls. All of the senseless verbal fire none of the actual fury.

When this situation comes to a head by October, then, by all means, those who love this Country must act decisively.

Trillanes hit part of Oplan October Moon

Many are asking why President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his minions did what they did when they issued a proclamation revoking the amnesty given to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Inquirer columnist and known Duterte supporter Mon Tulfo thinks it was a wrong move, while Manila Standard Today columnist and also a Duterte believer Jojo Robles justified the move as a reaction to an intelligence report stating that Trillanes and his group are out to wrest power from Mr. Duterte in a CIA-backed coup d'etat.

We ask--what is the true reason behind this proclamation which tried to effect an arrest against Trillanes when every single soul here in this bigoted land know that the senator's previous crimes have all been erased due to the amnesty given not just to him, but many others, by Duterte's predecessor Benigno S. Aquino III.

Right now, Mr. Duterte's administration is busy creating an impression that what they did was entirely legal and within the scope of powers granted to them by the Constitution. However, the patent illegality of this proclamation puts Mr. Duterte at a very tight spot.

Let's not discuss legal positions and analyze this based on politics. What really drove Mr. Duterte and his men? Why the rush to get Trillanes behind bars?

For all intents and purposes, Senator Trillanes may actually be considered a spent force prior to this legal monstrosity. Trillanes is on his last term as a senator and talks are rife that he is considering either retiring from politics or getting a local post, a plan which is entirely fraught with danger. Trillanes does not have a solid mass base. He is a Bicolano born and raised in Caloocan. His official address is in Antipolo. How in hell would he even win a gubernatorial post in Bicol or even Congressman of Caloocan? If you are talking about Antipolo where there is a solid group of Magdalos there, Trillanes would be foolhardy fighting the Ynares family there or the Punos.

Trillanes fate remains uncertain after 2019. He will just wait it out for 3 years. The question now--why the rush to neutralize him?

The answer is simple--among existing opposition forces, Trillanes' group presents the most viable force nearly equal to that of Duterte's. The Magdalos are an organized movement. They have presence in most places, except Mindanao where their presence got scandalized by erroneous organizational issues.

So, if the target is Trillanes and his group, then, why now? Why not hit them after May 2019, which I think, they would be their weakest state?

Based on inquiries, the answer is Calida. Calida is fearful of the probe being undertaken by Trillanes. Calida is a member of Duterte's inner circle. A controversy involving Calida would surely weaken his faction within Duterte's inner group.

Aside from Calida, another group waits in the wing, waiting for conditions to ripen for them to act. Sources shared that a pro-Duterte group is consolidating their forces to effect a "palace coup."

This palace coup intends to force Mr. Duterte to declare a revolutionary government prior before October 2018 ends. Their aim is to frustrate or prevent the 2019 mid-term elections from happening and make Mr. Duterte prepare a Council that will administer the nation during the so-called "interregnum" which they envision to be from October to May 2019. They want a plebiscite for a new government undertaken by May 2019. This group's activities are being supported by government money.

What is preventing this group from accomplishing their mission is the existence of two more groups within Mr. Duterte's circle that does not want that to happen. A group composed of ex-Generals is promoting the interests of their principal-- a son of a political personality. They want to finish the decision of a case on October and effect a smooth transition of power by that time. Sources say, the son had already secured an assurance from the Pentagon of US support.

The thing is, this group's interests are clashing with the interests of another pro-Duterte group composed of officials of another of Mr. Duterte's predecessor. This group was instrumental in Mr. Duterte's electoral win. They were the ones who organized Mr. Duterte's rounds in the provinces and the consolidation of anti-LP forces in support of Mr. Duterte's. When Mr. Duterte assumed power, these people immediately nominated their representatives in different departments and agencies and are practically the power behind Mr. Duterte's government. The thing is, they are also the ones manipulating this food crisis to force government contracts where they will actually benefit from. They are the ones benefiting from the monthly grease monies from syndicates imbedded in the bureaucracy.

These groups are now the ones causing these problems within the Duterte administration. These groups know how weak anti-Duterte forces are so they are exploiting the situation for their own political interests. It seemed that Mr. Duterte is also consolidating his own thru his daughter Sara and thru Mr. Bong Go, who now goes the rounds purposely for his senatorial bid but behind that, Mr. Go's mission is really create a group of Duterte's supporter mass base.

So, every one is consolidating forces in the eventuality of a shift of power from Mr. Duterte to another group. It seemed that Mr. Duterte is not joking when he publicly announced his decision to really hand over power. Sources say Mr. Duterte is tired and concerned with the way things are happening and is entirely worried of the fallout.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Our Dreams and Aspirations

Every Filipino dreams of a stable life, a life which he should be proud of. A life where he has a stable job, money to feed him and his family, and a house where he goes to after a day's work. Nowadays, it seemed hard even satisfying the first thing, which is landing a stable job, much more having the monies to feed one's family, and even more, having one's own house.

I will not delve anymore with statistics since we all know that we have a 7% unemployment rate, a higher underemployment and we all know that half a million join the unemployment ranks every single year. Those who land jobs mostly in the service sector suffer from lack of security of tenure. The scourge of endo still bedevils our working class.

Right now, we are suffering from higher prices of goods and services, made worse by TRAIN law. While we recognize the importance of such a tax measure, we however, bemoan the lack of regulations from our government, particularly those responsible for trade and industry to restrain manufacturers from unleashing successive price increases. We know that government has the power to restrain but sadly though, this government allows private enterprises to increase their prices as reaction to TRAIN law.

Our situation is made worse by the domination of food cartels, not just on rice but on other commodities. Almost every single item which we see on our dining table is being monopolized by a few unscrupulous traders. While our President has expressed that he knows these people yet does nothing, we are left but to suffer even more for these lack of concern.

Yes, those taxes are necessary to fulfill our lack of infrastructure, but we all know that most of these projects are undertaken through loans which would put us in dire risk in the next few years. Hence, while some of these mega projects have yet to lift off the ground, we, the Filipino People, are paying extravagantly for projects which we are even clueless as to how much and how long will we bear the inconveniences that we now suffer today.

These unbearable circumstances are forcing our young men and women to seek their fortunes abroad. Thousands leave these shores, most unaware of the dangers that lurk out there and some, hopeful to strike gold. However, the unfortunate financial crisis still affects most economies in the world, and that leaves Filipino labor as one of those with the cheapest wages in the world. We know not what happened to the thousands now virtually slaves of other races.

Those who are left here suffer from the daily tortures of traffic, of long lines leading to the MRT, of dangers walking down the streets, of crimes happening left and right. The national police is doing its job excellently, yet, due to logistical problems, unable to guarantee the safety of every single individual living in this archipelago.

The Filipino Family, which is the primary unit of our society, languishes and suffers from all these maladies caused by rampant graft and corruption, unconcerned and unpatriotic businessmen and age-old laws that simply do not respond to the fast changing times.

The Filipino Family is being torn apart every single day, all because of these economic woes that forces individuals to take the rough road only for survival. While those in power rake in more monies and more abuses.

What is to be done, my Motherland?

While all these may be trials for us to realize that there really is no human invention capable of truly satisfying human needs, and that God alone is the one who can really take care of us, it is however impossible and improbable that we are left to fend for ourselves. While we wait for his second coming, let us at least give comfort to those who suffer by improving our socio-economic and political situation.

We, as a united people, can do something. Through our unity, we can change things.

The first thing that we should do is to love. Yes, to love ourselves, and others. When we love ourselves, we should not agree on eating rice with bukbok or weevils and seek to live as decently and humanly as possible.

When we love ourselves, we should not agree on these alibis of rising prices due to alleged global conditions. We are being fooled. Every one knows that private business is raking in by the millions even by the billions by these higher priced goods and services and in the end, not remitting those taxes for government.

When we love ourselves, we should not agree on uncollected garbage by our city governments, of rampant drug addiction in our communities and of abuses committed by the very men who vowed to protect us. We should uphold the law and seek normalcy within our very homes.

As we love ourselves, so shall we love others. When we love others, we then improve the general condition first in our communities, and second, to our towns and cities, and eventually, it will infect the whole nation.

The second thing that we should do is to love our country. Yes, our Motherland. When we love our country, we don't simply pluck a flower in public gardens, or steal even a pencil from our public schools or use a government vehicle for our personal uses.

As we love our country, let us be concerned about its future. Let us preserve nature, the only treasure we can pass on to the other generations. As we conserve it, let us be mindful of how we use these resources. Our minerals should not be exported but processed here and used here. Our oil and our gases extracted from these very ground should first be used by us, instead of being used by a multinational firm for their own.

As we love our country and its future, the more we must realize the exigency of electing responsible individuals in both national and local posts. Let us not be blinded by the luster of their names and just focus on their skills, their social contributions and the plans they have for us. End the election of those who only want to be in power to protect his own and his friends interests. Let us shake off patronage politics. Let us not elect into power those who destroy our culture, our morals and traditions.

The last thing that we should do is let us envision now our future.

Yes, our Constitution is ripe for a change, but not a shift one that would put every single thing we so worked hard for for so many years in utter jeopardy.

Federalism can wait. Let us re-caliber and re-imagine our society by finally ending these problems thru a government that will strive to aim for the transformation of the state as an economic player. We have identified the enemy, and these are the Oligarchs. These Oligarchs must be destroyed, and the only way to defeat them is to defeat them at their own game.

Those who are nationalist, let us align with them. I know of many big businessmen who only want to do business here, nothing more. Let us join hands with them and create a group of strong businessmen who will support our undertaking for nation-building.

Those businessmen whose only interests are their own must be eliminated or forced to exile. Those who will support this revolutionary undertaking must be given their place under the sun.

Those who want to sow chaos and destroy this nation must likewise be exterminated from the face of the earth. Those who are being used by foreign powers to institutionalize or destabilize this country must be identified, shamed and incarcerated.

We owe it to our children, our young sons and daughters, a society where they could roam the streets freely, enjoy the blessings of our patrimony and live in harmony with every single human soul.

We cannot do that if our lives now remain harsh and brutish. We must fight the evils of Oligarchy, of bureaucrat capitalism and of finance capital.

The most immediate aim right now is for the transformation once more of the state not just as a political force but an economic one as well. Only thru a strong State so shall we fully develop into a full capitalist nation-state. After we cure the ills of this society so shall we move for a higher purpose which is create a more equitable society based on Filipino dreams and aspirations.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Why is NFA rice important to local rice cartels?

Here's the rub--- our government officials are saying that there are sufficient rice stocks, albeit, these are being kept by rice traders and importers and are being sold in supermarkets and groceries. Meaning, those who can afford it, they can practically eat as many rice as they want to.

Anyway, we know that these rice traders mix NFA rice with their stocks, most of them. Since, these traders want fantabulous profits for their own, they need to do it. Sources say, the agri guys know them but they refuse to bear down on them for more obvious reasons. The fact is--the market is behaving like this because of the manipulation of the cartel guys. Mr. Duterte already threatened them and in fact, even admitted that he knows some of them. Why not go after these traders and kill them? Killing one or two would send the message.

Mr. President, time to let the sparrows fly. Kill those cartel guys, their armies and their protectors in government--at one fell swoop. Then, look at the prices. If these prices will not go down, I myself will kill them.

Russian arms for Filipino soldiers? Really?

News reports say the AFP had just sent several military experts to Russia to inspect those war materiel that the former superpower want to sell to us. Since 1905, our soldiers have been using American war materiel which have different specs than those arms from Eastern Europe, like those of Russia. Compare the AK-47 with the M-16, and immediately just by looking at them, you'll have some inkling why several close AFP friends are skeptical of accepting these Russia-made army materials.

If we change our small arms, are we saying that we also intend to change our howitzers, our tanks, our APC/s etal? Or are we just interested in small arms?

What we need from Russia are their debugging devices and their sophisticated computer surveillance equipment which they used in influencing the US elections. We need them so that we can influence our own, hehehehe!

Anyway, frankly, Russian small arms or those from East Europe are really the best of the best. I, for one, am very partial with Czech arms or CZ's, not to mention the HK's, the AK's, and several others. Even America's special forces use these automatic pistols. I had a Smith and Wesson 9mm before but I am not impressed. The only impressive American-made pistol which I still rely on is the 45-caliber 1911's.

I think our government should re-think this though. Transitioning at this time is not recommendable. We will only confuse our own soldiers. Besides, we haven't used these arms in actual combat. Everyone knows that when one is used in a definite system, one must stick to it.

Hugpong---- a Party for Duterte and for what?

HUgpong, a regional party created by supporters of Davao city mayor Sara Duterte is fast consolidating itself not just as a regional powerhouse, but moreso, as a national political party. What ideology does it pursue, we simply don't know. What it is is another personality-based political aggrupation which dissipates as soon as the personality disappears.

Such tribal approach to political organisation seemed too ingrained in Filipino political culture that we just can't help but remember the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan or KBL of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The KBL was formed simply as a mass base support structure by Marcos in support of the dictatorship. In other countries, people form political parties around certain ideological beliefs. In the Philippines, it is the other way around--people form first then, ideologies later. What a shame!

What we can glean from Hugpong is this-- it is a regional party of Davao city mayor Sara, now a popular national personality according to surveys. Since Sara, according to news reports, is not interested in pursuing either a Congressional or Senatorial post, we can assume that this party is being prepared for 2022-- when she runs for the presidency to succeed his father.

Now what they intend to do with our country, we simply don't know exactly. What we can only do is make presumptions--- since the Dutertes are known for managing their territories using strong arm tactics which somewhat overstep the bounds of rationality and morality, expect such things also from Sara, albeit, according to several apologies, in a tempered manner, dissimilar with the father's.

I simply don't know if by 2022 or even as early as 2019, the people still want to continue this mismanagement of the economy, the rampant graft and corruption happening being led by Mr. Duterte's close friends, the breakdown of peace and order due to poverty and high price of goods. I simply don't presume that people are essentially happy of what is happening here. People are leaving these shores in droves while overseas Filipinos are thinking twice of sending their monies here.

If these people still win by 2019 in a clean way, then, that will be the day that I will think of really migrating and looking at this country from the lens of an outsider. This country seriously needs some uplifting and these liberalist things happening don't necessarily do us good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Reject Marcos-Robredo cliques and push for true class-led revolution to change our Present Condition

Karl Marx once quoted Hegel as saying that historical personages appear twice--first as tragedy and second, as a farce. He wrote this in the 18th Brumaire if I remember correctly. This is precisely what is happening to the Philippines mainly due to the unchanging economic relations in this country. Though I heard from a source that charter change is already dead in the water as I write this, nonetheless, I still maintain a very strong position against Federalism at this juncture in our history simply because it will not change the economic relations that exist between classes in Philippine society. It will, however, only change how political power is distributed and by distributing it in a very sparse manner, it will only increase the number of personalities benefitting from public funds and increase the possibility of graft and corruption.

What this country needs at this point is equality---equality in the access to the means of production. As a working class revolution is not at all possible at this historical juncture, the next best solution to the widespread poverty of this country is to transform the state into a worker's mallet so as to serve as a weapon against big-time capitalist interests.

I quoted Marx here because I am surprised at how the public are calmly accepting the possibility of a Marcosian comeback thru constitutional succession. It is still vivid in my memory, how, as a fifteen year old, I watched in television how thousands trooped and entered Malacanan bearing nothing but their fists and ransacked the entire place. It is still very much clear to my mind how several were seen tromping the paintings bearing the pictures of Imelda and Ferdie Marcos and opening those end of century era cabinets looking for documents and other stuff.

Ferdinand Marcos came as a whiff of fresh air against traditional politicians (trapos) who dominate Filipino society both as economic and political masters. Through his wit and charisma, Marcos was able to transcend the traditional barriers to the top political power thru excellent strategies and political machinations that always befuddle his political nemesis. He was the first member of the bourgeoisie that transcended the tough political barriers to the Presidency. There was much hope in him, due to the fact that members of the oligarchy were convinced that Marcos was with them, and he was an excellent counterforce against Benigno Aquino Jr., whose politics wavered between pseudo Socialism and liberalism.

His first term was viewed favourably as economic conditions improved. The Philippines maintained its position as an economic powerhouse in Asia. His second term though, encountered rough waters and predictably so because capitalism at that time in the Philippines was encountering a crisis due to the war politics of the Philippines' main patron, the United States.

Marcos was left in a quandary--- he knew that the liberation of this country from the shackles of poverty and underdevelopment is thru the change in the economic relations of classes. He, however, has served as a political representative of the bourgeoisie--- he pursued liberal capitalist policies which though resulted in evident structural improvements and a robust economy, it however, failed to resolve the age-old economic relations between landlords and the landless in the provinces.

Large-scale landholdings remain under the hands and control of big-time landlords that transform themselves into demi-gods in their territories. Armed and dangerous, these landlords also serve as political patrons and in some instances, the very symbol of local political power in their respective provinces. Since their interest is to preserve their economic interests, local laws tend to favour their class instead of laws being used to equalise society. What came out was that of conflict between landlords and their stooges, and the peasants who tend the land and tried to defend themselves against the predatory local policies of the landed.

Hence, there were two parallel historical trends in the Philippines happening at the same time during Marcos rule--- the need for more structural changes in the core meaning the urbanised centres of commerce, and the continuing conflict occurring in the peripheral segments of Philippine society. The core was fast changing due to external influences of trade flows, while the periphery is fast deteriorating due to the unresolved economic relations between the landed and the landless.

Marcos knew that the solution to the problem of landlessness in the periphery was genuine agrarian reform. By putting these large landholdings under the ambit of government and distributing them to the peasants and farmers, and increased government intervention thru machination and providing financial assistance for agricultural production, this measure would surely result to a revolutionary change in economic relations. When economic relations are then changed, this will empower the peasants as economic players and spur development thru the increase in wealth.

However, these landlords are themselves the main economic players in the core. The Rodriguez family for example, maintain vast tracts of land not just in the Rizal provinces but in lands in the National Capital Region (NCR). Rent is the basis of wealth of most landlords. The local aristocracy such as the Ortigases, Ayalas, etal., leased and sometimes develop their lands as hubs of trade and commerce and thereafter, derive rent from them.

For Marcos to do his part and satisfy the expectations of him by his political base, he must dismantle this huge network of landlords and capitalists in connivance with bureaucrat capitalists. In essence, he must work or battle against his friends, the very class that he intended to become a part of. He knows that the solution is to transform the state into a hammer that would smash the control of the bourgeoisie of the entire economic superstructure.

And Marcos did what he intended to---he justified the use of martial law as an instrument to equalise economic and social relations. However, instead of further developing the state into a mallet, Marcos instead consolidated all power into himself, his family and his associates, thereupon creating a powerful clique within bourgeois ranks. What Marcos did was a cosmetic strategy aimed at reportedly changing the face of production relations when in fact, Marcos did was monopoly of power. Marcos, exactly, became the state instead of him only acting as an instrumentality of the state for the equalisation of relations in productions.

Thus, Marcos became the monumental tragedy in Philippine history. And now, with the second time around, we are being led to the slaughter house by calmly accepting the intended constitutional succession that Mr. Rodrigo Roa Duterte is actually proposing.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos III, admittedly, is an 'improved Marcos'. I had the privilege of talking with him, and Bongbong seemed to be the Marcos with a deep knowledge of how to do the right thing this time.

However, like his father, Bongbong is also working for the interests of the bourgeoisie which he associated himself with. The only difference this time is that Bongbong's ties with the military is solid.

What do we expect from a Bongbong presidency but a military regime. I must advise against this because studies show that military regimes do not last. Military supporters of Bongbong Marcos see as their model the Thai and Myanmar cases but these military regimes are encountering stiff and active opposition. They are recognisant of this and are slowly modernising. However, in modernising, they are losing political power and hold.

Bongbong Marcos represents a clique within the bourgeoisie, a pitiful and sad thing. Expect nothing revolutionary to happen under a repeat of a Marcos-led government. Instead, this will surely escalate conflict among classes, leading to anarchy.

Bongbong Marcos and incidentally, Vice President Leni Robredo are both representing cliques within bourgeoisie ranks. Behind these cliques are powerful capitalist interests that will bring nothing more than exacerbate the inequality of class relations. These capitalists are concerned only with profits and more profits to the detriment of the large majority of Filipinos who are now suffering from higher prices of goods and services.

The Philippines is ripe for a revolutionary break in its history. The people are convinced of the necessity of changing not just the political but the social and economic relations of classes. The first step is really for Filipinos to attain a collective consciousness, a consciousness rotted in their class, and as a class, work for the dismantling of the present oppressive economic system.

This can only be realized through consolidation of all democratic and nationalist elements within Philippine society under one Party. That Party will work for the interests and welfare of the Filipino People. This Party should work for a revolutionary struggle, together with the armed forces under one shared class consciousness.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Federalism will not solve the economic problems of the Philippines

Proponents of Federalism wants to carve distinct territories based on ethnicities as a prescription to economic underdevelopment. These people are so into political economic theories that they mistake the solution to economic problems as always answerable by politics. They see the political structure as flawed and therefore, it affects local or regional economies so much that it spurs or institutionalize poverty.

Let us not be mistaken--politics is all about the distribution of power. Economics is an analytical tool in determining the distribution of resources. Power is a way of controlling resources. By creating a structure on how to distribute power equally, it may lead to a symmetrical control of resources.

Is this how we see things? Poverty, which is being used by Federalists as their reason for pushing a change in the system, is a result of many things, one of which is access to resources. Many Filipinos do not have full access to state resources not because their regional governments do not have the resources, no. The reason is myriad, but the most simplistic and most observable reason is the lack or scarcity (or you could say the paucity) of structure that disallows or impedes the flow of resources from the top of the economic chain to the lowest or base.

Our economic system is designed to benefit only a fraction of the population in a particular territory. Blame the existing governmental system for that? Yes, you will and no you don't.

Yes, because government is supposed to create the opportunities for poor people to gain enough resources to correct the monumental inequalities. No, because it is not solely the responsibility of governments why our economic system is created solely for the benefit of the few-- it is the very nature of the economic system itself that is inherently flawed that perpetuates control or domination of resources by a moneyed few over the resources-scrapped majority.

Federalists hope to use government resources in equalizing economic opportunities, a strategy which have worked in several other countries. They think that by creating federated regions, they will then lead to a re-engineering of existing regional economies and therefore, expand economic opportunities available in that territory solely for the benefit of its citizens.

Let's analyze why several provinces in this archipelago is economically rich or stable and why others are not. Let us do so because we want to get an answer to the question of economic underdevelopment which spurs poverty among the people.

Why is it that the island of Luzon is richer than the Visayas? The simplistic answer lies on the way capital flows and behaves. Luzon is a contiguous area. Provinces are interlinked, and therefore, under the very same economic system which is capitalism.

Luzon is geographically greater in size than the Visayas, therefore, there are more lands to convert into productive sites than in the Visayas. Land is a precious commodity in the Philippines. It is also a form or source of capital. Since Luzon is far bigger than the Visayas, there are plenty of lands to exploit and generate capital. Besides this, Luzon has more than enough suitable places for investments. Some areas are not disaster-prone and surely not places where you find typhoons often disrupting economic activities.

Since the area is wide and provinces are just nearby, it is very easy for capital to flow with ease to almost all areas of the island wide economic system. Let's not forget that the basic principle of capitalism is the expansion of capital---the more disperse capital is, the greater economic opportunities.

Now, we ask---inspite of Luzon being wealthier than the Visayas, why is it that poverty remains high in both areas--Luzon and the Visayas? Again, the answer lies in the control of capital. Who controls the capital in Luzon? Capital is very much concentrated in the hands of the elites. There are two kinds of elites--economic and bureaucratic or elites that dabble in politics while immerse in economic activities.

For one to monopolize capital, you need to gain control of the very structures which allow or dictate capital flows. How do you do it? By controlling the banking industry, the distribution networks and managing regulatory agencies.

This allows us then to discuss on the interplay of politics with capitalism. Look at the political elites of Luzon and most of them or nearly ALL of them are engaged in economic activities. They are not just your governors, your legislators, your mayors and city councilors--they are your landlords, your bankers, your legal consultants, your traders and your suppliers.

In the case of Batanes for example, the governor there is the one who owns the ship that ferries goods from Cagayan to the islands. She controls the very lifeline that allows the Batans to live in peace. With the government safely in her hands, she then controls the flow of capital in that place and of course, she benefits from it more than those who are not in control.

We then ask--by federalizing our regions, do we then dismantle the traditional economic structures that exists now that are actually contributing to poverty? No. When we federalize, we don't change the economic system but only the political structure. Are there provisions in the proposed Federalism proposal that disallows the economic elites from dabbling into politics? There is none.

When we change the politics of an area, do we also change how capital is being distributed? No, we don't. What we will be doing is change how power is being distributed. When we change how power is distributed, do we then change the economic lot of impoverished Filipinos in these federated regions? No we don't. Why? Because in the first place, these poor Filipinos do not have access to the source of capital which is land. How do they gain access in the first place when they don't have the financial resources to get and develop land?

What we are proposing is expand or disperse further power so that other economic elites who are what we call "outside the colambo" may gain access to the political organs of power. By increasing the numbers of those involved in the political policies of this country, you then increase the political playground, hence, increasing even the possibility of more engagements and more conflicts.

If our problem is economic, is it not logical to solve it thru economic reforms or even the abolition of the present economic system and replace it with a better one?

The problem is, again, the control of capital. Who has the monopoly of capital in this country? Very few. What do we need for us to grow as a nation? We need to create the right environment for capitalism to thrive or if really this economic system is not for us and is it is causing or exacerbating the gap between those who have and those who have not, then, let's replace it with a better one.


Weaponize the state--make it the people's hammer. The state is the only weapon which the people have right now that is the one equipped and ready to fight these monopoly capitalists and defeat them in their own game.

Smash the monopoly and free up capital. Make capital public until such time that the people's living standards have been improved. It is by then that we allow more freedom in terms of concentration of capital.

A part of the solution is planning with the aim of empowering the state by transforming it into a player for economic activities.

First off, enact a land use bill. Finance research. Identify areas which will allow foreign capital or investment to flow into. Identify which areas are for manufacturing, residential, industrial and which are sources of agricultural products and natural minerals.

Afterwards, let's invest on infrastructure. Develop the roads. Ensure mobility. Link every single place up thru telecommunications and provisions of utilities like adequate power supply and water.

Promote these areas. Those who are centers of resources, build infrastructures that will allow resources to directly reach its intended markets. Supply chain management is key here. Logistics as well.

Those who are centers for manufacturing and industrial, aid local companies in bringing in technologies and resources in the cheapest way possible. Link industrial with non-industrial areas so that we create symmetry and more growth.

Afterwards, prepare our human resource. First thing, reform the lands. Allocate public lands to public housing. Ensure that all productive forces or labor have their own houses. Sell affordable houses. Those who cannot afford to buy one, loosen housing loan requirements. Make it extremely affordable for a Filipino family to get one house.

Link residential areas with industrial or centers of commerce by improving transportation infrastructure. Regulate the volume of private cars and promote the growth of public transport. Implement an effective traffic management system.

Collect all taxes. Ensure regulatory compliance of firms. Collected taxes must be allocated to the right projects. Eliminate or regulate corruption by limiting human intervention. Red tapes should be cut.

Make an example of those who will join the bureaucracy just so they can use the public treasury as their public sources of personal income. Stricter penalties and punishments for corrupt government officials and their civilian cohorts. Include graft and corruption among those crimes worthy of the death penalty.

Our state security forces, especially the civilian police force should be trained well enough to fight off criminality. Implement a Patriotic police culture within the PNP.

For our military, improve our military culture and ensure that these military men think and serve as our praetorian guards instead of encouraging them to indulge in political pursuits.

Inculcate a culture of meritocracy in all aspects of Filipino life. Reward those who follow the law and mete harsh punishment to those who don't. Make heroes out of scientists, those who academically excel, and those who strive for excellence in their chosen fields of endeavor. Tell their stories, Include their names in elementary and high school books. Enrich the literature with their heroic and patriotic pursuits.

Make opportunities equal in the eyes of both employers and employees.

Why federating ourselves would benefit External Powers like China

Our Constitution defines the Philippine state as democratic and republican. There is a reason why we are a unitary state, and that is, we are an archipelago, peopled by individuals of different ethnicities. When you have islands which are near each other yet under different ethnicities, the possibility of conflict exists.

Who benefits from a disunited Philippines--who else but our enemies, especially China?

For decades we, alongside our forebears, had tried our darnest best trying to instill a unique Filipino identity in the consciousness of the peoples of this archipelago. My estimation is, we have been successful in doing such. From the peoples of the farthest islands of Batanes in the North, to the great peoples of the Southern Islands of Tawi-Tawi, the term "Filipino" had been embraced, accepted and associated as an identity inseparable to the Self. Ask the 101 million souls living in this country and they'll shout "Filipino" not only as an expression of their citizenship but as their identity.

Yes, we still group ourselves into Ilocanos, Bulakenyos, Davao-enos, Cebuanons, Pangasinenses, Cagayanons, yet the groupings are merely socials not as seriously as how the Cordillera peoples or the Bangsamoro do their own distinct groupings. I don't see Bulakenyos erupting into revolts or even Zamboangenos asking for autonomy? Then, why undo a good thing?

The minute we federate ourselves, we actually ignite the very problem which our former colonial masters faced when they tried to expand governmental power in this archipelago--ethic-based conflicts.

Competition under capitalism is a good thing, but competition in the political arena is bad. Remember that in federating ourselves, we are not changing the economic structure--we are engineering a new governmental structure. Federalism is not about economic change-- it is about how do we distribute power. It is political rather than an economic solution, if you could call that a solution.

We have to be very clear that Federalism talks about governmental structures, not changes in the economic system. The minute we federate, we will still be under a capitalist system. Do we instantaneously create economic opportunities for the poor? We don't. Why? Because even if we change the system of government, those in control of capital will still be the very same people who controls them now.

Federalists believe that the solution against widespread poverty is increasing economic opportunities, which is an accurate solution. That solution requires not a political one but an economic change. Do we change how capital flows in this country by changing the political landscape? IN the minimum, yes. On the other hand, by expanding the distribution of political power, you also allow more economic players to participate in the political dynamics, thereupon, perpetuating these economic elites into power instead of discouraging them or limiting their political participation!

The problem really of poverty in this country lies on the way we manage capital. Capital here lies in the hands of a distinct few. It is highly monopolized. Can politics break the monopoly? No. Can governance break the monopoly? Yes thru regulation and enactment of policies that promote fair economic play. Do we need to federalize to do just that? No. The fact is, we can very well be more effective if we are under a unitary government because these policies will be implemented at all levels and across all regions. Under a federated setup, regulatory policies which affect economic activities are expected to differ among federated regions, so much so that we expect again, to see varying types and levels of economic development. There will be poor and highly rich regions, the very same thing we are seeing today!

The solution to the breakage of monopoly capital lies on strengthening the state, and turning it into the biggest economic player. The state should take part in economic activities. By weaponizing the state, we then break these monopolies that impede the free flow of capital, enabling or creating the very economic opportunities our people need for them to improve their lives.

The principle that lies behind federalism is the dispersal of public capital from government hands to private hands. Federalist arguments rest on the management of public funds. They blame government for its unequal or unjust use of accumulated public revenues. They use the argument that the reason why many provinces are poor and underdeveloped is because LGU's lack the funds to build infrastructure and to support economic activities of peoples living in their respective territories.

Bull. crap.

The real reason why provinces remain poor is due to the political elites who are also economic elites. They don't build infrastructures because these elites fear competition! They do cosmetic development in their territories just to show the people they have achieved much. However, they don't enact substantive legislation because by changing the status quo in their respective territories, they risk affecting their economic interests!

You see this everywhere, most especially in Mindanao. Why is Mindanao poor despite it being rich in natural resources? Mindanao is poor not because it does not have the capabilities of self-generating its own resources-- resources or the flow of it is highly monopolized by a few! Ask me who owns the lands, who monopolize distribution networks and who dabbles in regional banking there and you'll be surprised to find out that it is only a few. This will simply not change when we federate Mindanao.

The solution to the problem of Mindanao is really not even political inclusion, but economic liberation. Government must build relevant infrastructures to allow investments to flow. The more investments, the more jobs. The more jobs means more economic opportunities for people. More economic activity attracts more capital. More capital and dispensing capital even to the farthest places in Mindanao means more people's lives improved.

Problems occur when the unequal distribution of power creates conflict. It is not the political system that is to blame for Mindanao's economic woes--it is how the Mindanao elites view the distribution of power. The elites here are like dogs--they are extremely territorial because of the very nature of the existing economic system which retains hallmarks of neo-feudalism. Mindanao is obviously, an agricultural resource hub, and land is the basis of wealth. Mindanao's economic problems may be solved by effecting an honest to goodness land reform there. Widen the participation of the poor farmers in the economy by distributing them land for them to generate wealth. Government should assist these farmers in developing their lands. By transforming farmers as distributors as well, we eliminate traders in the equation. This can only be done thru infrastructure development--- assist farmer entrepreneurs by increasing access to markets thru development of roads and infrastructure necessary for the transportation of harvests to markets. Do we need to federate to do just that? NO!

When we are federating Mindanao, we are creating conflict. Imagine a Federated Mindanao along the lines of ethnicity and you'll see federated regions competing and in conflict with each other. This is so because we are actually limiting the flow of capital from one federated region to another thru the differing regulatory policies. There will be a situation where two federated regions differ from their trading policies--one liberal, the other restrictive. How then do we secure economic development equally? We simply cannot assure that.

Federation will only allow external powers to silently, annex us into their own. Those who lust for the Philippines are waiting for us to federate because it will allow them to penetrate, own properties and control the economic system simply by transacting with regional powers instead of just one. The danger of this is, we cannot simply assure the protection of our patrimony because there will be federated regions which will be liberal in terms of foreign entry of capital and there will be those which will not. I bet you that the minute we federate that side of Pampanga-Bataan and Zambales, we will see China's presence there. That's exactly why those who are pushing for Federalism wants--they want to see more Chinese presence in the Philippines. The accusation that the Philippines will be a province of China the minute we federate is not an empty one or fake news.

When Defense Secretary Lorenzana missed his brain

Defense Secretary Lorenzana is supposed to be a professional soldier. He's there at the Department of Defense to make sure that the military establishment does its mission according to the Constitution which is protect and preserve the patrimony of the nation.

Now, when the very defense secretary of this country shoots himself in the mouth by saying that the 2016 arbitral ruling is an "empty victory" because it is "unenforceable-able", you try to understand now why our armed forces lags behind its neighbors in South East Asia--- it is because we have men such as Lorenzana whose balls are up his head in lieu of his missing brain.

Lorenzana lacks the intellectual capabilities to understand that such a ruling is actually enforce-able, and how? By the securitizing the remaining isles and islands within the exclusive economic zone of our country and by assigning regular naval patrols do we make this ruling enforce-able.

Lorenzana probably fears for an encounter with Chinese coast guards but that is entirely far-fetched. China knows that the minute it moves against any Philippine vessel, it courts negative global perception and even attracts US attention. The US seventh fleet is just around the corner and any untoward incident between us and China would definitely elicit a response from our defense ally, the United States.

Do we have enough naval assets to counter China? Of course we don't. In the West Philippine sea dispute, both sides China and us, are not contemplating on using the full brunt of our armed forces just for some jutting rocks out of the ocean? It does not deter us from using our existing assets to patrol our territory. Don't tell me that patrolling our seas would court anger from China? And if it does, so what? We are just enforcing our sovereign rights as recognized by the entire world!

The only thing that Lorenzana probably knows is how to kill fellow Filipinos. He's totally still on a low intensity conflict mode that Lorenzana fears a confrontation with anything who speaks a foreign language and gung-ho on anything who speaks like a Filipino.

Or probably the reason is as simple as money--there's simply no revenue generated from ordering our navy to patrol our exclusive economic zone in that part of the Philippines. What it does is simply raise the sagging morale of our soldiers whose capabilities on warfare seemed always a subject of doubt by their civilian leaders, even Lorenzana who happened to be a retired soldier. This is exactly the problem if someone, a military bureaucrat such as Lorenzana is assigned as our country's defense chief--they think in terms of war expenditure.

Comparing regular patrols with a full scale insurgency war, Lorenzana would probably pick full scale war against fellow Filipinos simply on the basis that wars cost the government monies. When money is at stake, think how many people would be blessed instantaneously just supplying our armed forces with ammunition, gasoline, and the like?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

General Guillermo Eleasar--a man of integrity and honor!

General Guillermo Eleazar who now heads the National Capital Region (NCR) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) reminds me of my kumpadre, former PNP chief Eduardo Aglipay. Back in 2000, Aglipay was the epitome of an officer and a gentleman. He was very efficient as a leader, commanded utmost respect among the ranks and was very fair. Crime incidence was low during Aglipay's term.

I also expect that under Eleazar's. With General Oscar Albayalde as his boss, I am sure Eleazar will be at the top of his game, and serve the people well.

I am particularly impressed with the way he handled the case involving a beat cop who slapped a hapless bus driver due to a petty traffic violation.

That video went viral. It showed the bus driver giving his drivers license but instead of getting it, the beat cop identified as PO1 Costo slapped him in the face, and angrily walked out of the bus.

Like a father, Eleazar confronted the first time cop and admonished him for his behavior. Costo is now relieved from his post but frankly, he should have been fired. At this critical juncture of our history when the people are slowly losing their trust of our police forces, mostly due to the fear of cops now acting like brutal executors, Costo's act is abominable. He should be fired from the service as an example for others not to abuse their people-given powers and authority.

To General Eleazar and PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde--sirs, our snappy salute and our profound thanks for your service to the Filipino Nation! Mabuhay!

General Guillermo Eleazar confronting erring colleague, PO1 Costo
the abusive cop who slapped a bus driver over a petty dispute. 

Duterte's appeal to his friends to stop their thievery went unheeded?

Like his predecessor Joseph Estrada, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's appeal to his friends during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) probably went unheeded.

Yesterday, a big-time recruitment agency owner charged Labor secretary Slyvestre Bello III of corruption for allegedly demanding 10 million pesos just to lift her suspension order. see this story here:

I remember Mr. Duterte vowing to kick the butt out of any Cabinet member with just a "whiff" of suspicion that he or she is involved in graft and corruption.

Bello has been receiving serious graft and corruption allegations from various people and these people will not sacrifice their lives, their futures and their businesses if they don't have any evidence against Bello.

Malacanan is now conducting an investigation on graft allegations against Bello. One of those who went out against Bello claims that Bello and his group within the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is employing tactics to scare legitimate recruitment agencies in exchange for gifts ranging from expensive watches to actual cold cash.

Bello had since denied the charges flatly, even saying that those charges are illegal and he will not do such things. If you read the affidavits of the complainants however, there are sufficient grounds there to pin Bello down for corruption.

Bello has a pending estafa case before the Department of Justice (DOJ) which was used as basis for exempting him from the qualified list of nominees for the Office of the Ombudsman post.

Mr. Duterte was elected on the belief that he is a strong man. The people reposed their trust on him believing that he has the balls to fight off corrupt men and women in the service.

I understand that there is a process involved in firing high government officials and it happened with Mike Sueno, even the former Secretary of Justice (SOJ).

It would be very interesting if the body tasked by Mr. Duterte himself discover something irregular  and Mr. Duterte stands by his ground for and on behalf of his dorm mate, Slyvestre Bello. That could be used against Mr. Duterte and probably affect his anti-corruption drive.

This could spark fresh revolts against Mr. Duterte. Remember what happened to Erap? Erap also mouthed threats of "walang kaibigan, walang kamag-anak" while the people saw photos of him fraternizing with shady characters and those officials accused of major corrupt practices. That led to his eventual ouster and incarceration.

In fairness to President Duterte, as many as seven times he told Bello to run for the Senate and many times did Bello belied the truth behind the president's words. Sources say maybe the President is privy to intel reports which documented alleged illicit practices of Bello's group.

Frankly, Bello's presence is affecting Mr. Duterte's political image and reputation.  An honest friend would sacrifice his own political career for the sake of his friend who is directly accountable to the people.

Even at the State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Duterte reiterated this call to his friends and members of his cabinet and the bureaucracy.

For Secretary Bello--who uses his friendship with a broadcaster to air his blanket denials, I think it is time to throw in the towel. The very fact that he is now embroiled in this controversy is one sufficient reason to just retire from government service. How would one like Bello manage his department when the public is slowly losing their trust and confidence on him? He will surely be an ineffective leader by this time.